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B2B is coming of age as marketers find new opportunities: WARC-Spotify

Today, WARC, the global authority on marketing effectiveness, in association with the advertising arm of Spotify, the world's most popular audio streaming subscription service, released an analysis of B2B marketing within the technology and telecommunications sectors. The report looks at themes that B2B marketers in these industries are focusing on, and how they are planning to develop their marketing strategies into 2021.

The study is based on interviews with chief marketing officers from leading businesses in tech and telco, in addition to a survey of more than 330 B2B marketers within these industries based in 10 markets across the world. The data from this research, conducted in November 2020, were combined with WARC's global data, industry knowledge, examples and expert contributors.

David Tiltman, VP Content, WARC, says: "The shifts highlighted in this report makes the year ahead a real opportunity for B2B marketers - in tech, telco and beyond. Consumer habits have been disrupted. Communications are being rethought. There are new opportunities to reach end-users. It is ultimately a time when quick-thinking marketers can gain advantage."

Jorrit DeVries, Global Category Development Officer, Tech & Telco Vertical, Spotify, says: "Together with WARC, we've created a key piece of research for Spotify and other ad industry players to better understand what matters most to B2B marketers as their business needs shift and the complexity of the marketplace evolves. We'll be using the findings to help these marketers understand how digital audio can be leveraged to deliver impact and creativity."

The key themes outlined in "Changing channels in B2B" a report by WARC, in association with Spotify Advertising are:

1. The reshaping of B2B: Drivers of change

B2B marketing is undergoing a transformation. Having lagged behind B2C marketing in terms of multichannel strategy evolution, leaders in the industry have started to drive growth for their businesses by innovating and experimenting with their media choices, indeed 66% of respondents plan to increase their digital audio budgets in 2021.

COVID-19 has accelerated this digital disruption, depriving marketers of live events and in-person meetings and fuelling changes in decision-maker behaviour that had begun long before the virus took hold. This is a time of learning and discovery for B2B marketers, as they seek out new, progressive ways of reaching their customers across both live and virtual touchpoints.

2. B2B audiences are changing

With so many people setting up offices at home, the worlds of tech and telco have become consumerised like never before. Add to this the accession of millennials to senior roles within organisations, and you have a workplace where decisions are being made differently, forcing marketers to find new ways to adapt to these changing audiences.

83% of respondents agree that employees have a strong voice on tech and telco services, providers, or partnerships.

3. B2B marketers are exploring new ways to drive reach through channel planning

The dominance of digital marketing and the need to reach a more diverse audience have triggered a new approach to channel planning from B2B marketers. It is a time of experimentation and there is still a lot to learn, but the strategy has moved towards achieving a broader multimedia mix, introducing newer channels like audio and streaming.

50% of B2B marketers are experimenting with channels they have never tried before as they seek to drive reach.

4. The rise of creativity and brand-building in B2B

New challenges in engaging B2B audiences have inspired marketers to put more emphasis on building their brands, in order to provide a secure base from which their content can work harder and more effectively. More than 80% of respondents agree that they need to be more focused on building strong brands.

Creativity is flourishing in tech and telco B2B marketing, as businesses place a new significance on storytelling and finding relevant partners to deliver those stories in compelling ways. 51% of respondents are actively trying to find new ways to tell their brand story.

"Changing channels in B2B" includes a deep-dive into each of the four themes, CMO views, data analysis and key takeaways. The report is available to download here.

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